The United Kingdom on Thursday banned the use of TikTok on official government devices, adding to similar restrictions imposed by allies in Canada, the European Union and the United States.reported CNN.
The social media app isn’t widely used by UK officials, according to a government statement, but the move reflects concerns over TikTok’s ties to China through parent company ByteDance and the possibility that the Chinese government could pressure companies to hand over personal data. of users.
“This is a proportionate measure based on a specific risk with government schemes,” UK Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden told lawmakers.
In a subsequent statement, TikTok expressed disappointment with the decision.
“We believe these bans are based on fundamental misconceptions and are motivated by broader geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK play no part,” a spokesperson said, according to CNN. “We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns, but we must be judged on the facts and treated in the same way as our competitors.”
The UK move comes a day after company officials said the Biden government has demanded TikTok’s Chinese owners divest their stake in the popular video app or risk a potential US ban.
In August 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with ByteDance, alleging that Chinese tech operations could be used for espionage.
In December, the US House Committee on Administration banned TikTok on all mobile devices controlled by the House “due to a number of security concerns”. In addition, more than 20 US states have banned TikTok on government devices.
In late February, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to ensure they don’t have TikTok on federal devices and systems.
A few days later, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok.
The company has stated that it is voluntarily working to address security concerns by taking technical and bureaucratic steps to isolate US and EU user data from its global operations. It has also said it has not received any requests for user information from the Chinese government and will resist such requests.